Robert MacIntyre is taking this week’s top-billing in his stride as the highest ranked Scotsman at the abrdn Scottish Open, the second Rolex Series event on the 2021 Race to Dubai.
The 24-year-old, currently ranked 51st on the Official World Golf Ranking, is part of the strongest field ever to assemble at Scotland’s national open, with World Number One Jon Rahm amongst five players from the top ten and 19 of the top 50 players in the OWGR in the field at Renaissance Club.
“It’s going to be good there’s going to be crowds,” said MacIntyre. “So I mean, as we always talk about, you’re in Scotland. There’s not going to be many of them against you. Everyone’s going to be trying to support you, or the majority of them are going to support you and what you’re doing. So you’ve just got to do that.
“Obviously playing with the better, or the higher-named, higher-ranked players is always good. They are going to play well and they are going to drag you along and vice versa; if you’re playing well, you’ll hopefully drag them along. Just mark your card and hopefully they can mark a low score.
“My own expectations are zero. I’m here to play golf and enjoy myself like every week. I don’t expect myself to do anything. Obviously, I’ve got my standards. I’m not coming here not to try and win a golf tournament.
“Everyone that’s in the field is trying to win. But outside of that, what am I expecting from the week? I don’t know. I just take what I’m given. I’ve put in the work. I’m still putting in the work. You just let what hits you, hit you. Try not to get in your own way and get on with it; it’s as simple as that.”
MacIntyre will tee it up alongside reigning Race to Dubai Number One Lee Westwood and 2020 US PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa for the first two rounds of the abrdn Scottish Open at Renaissance Club on Scotland’s Golf Coast.
MacIntyre has history with Morikawa as the pair were on opposing teams at the 2017 Walker Cup, with America defeating Great Britain & Ireland 19-7 at Los Angeles Country Club. World Number 19 Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris, runner-up at the Masters earlier this year, both played in that Walker Cup, and are also in this week’s world-class international field.
The abrdn Scottish Open also marks Morikawa’s first appearance as a professional on European soil, with the World Number Four making his final preparations for next week’s Open Championship.
“(It’s my) first time in Europe,” said Morikawa. “Obviously, I’ve played a few events on The European Tour, but to finally be here knowing that I was going to kind of put this in my schedule for quite a while now, I’m excited.
“It’s a little rainy. It’s been rainy the past couple days but it’s exciting to see the field and guys I’ve grown up with that I’ve talked about in the past, guys out here I’ve known for quite a while, growing up in the U.S., playing amateur golf with them. I enjoy it. European Tour puts on a great tournament for us and hopefully we can play some good golf, as well.”
World Number Five Xander Schauffele meanwhile is playing in Scotland for the first time since his runner-up finish at The Open at Carnoustie in 2018.
“I think it’s just so different for Americans to play overseas, and I think it’s sort of that bit of adversity that sort of makes you think outside the box and maybe tap more into your imagination,” said Schauffele.
“I think I really enjoy that challenge of trying to think a little bit more, and knowing that playing sort of links-style or very different courses over here in Europe, it almost — your sort of search for perfection that you can kind of get stuck into on parkland golf sort of disappears for me.
“I sort of fall in love with hitting shots and trying to hit different shots versus trying to work on my swing or anything like that. I really enjoy the challenge of sort of thinking outside the box when I play overseas.”
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